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Paranormal

William Friedkin revisits old haunts with new documentary on famous exorcist, Father Amorth

Maureen Dowd
The New York Times

William Friedkin, director of “The Exorcist” has created a new documentary called “The Devil and Father Amorth”.

When you’ve got a demonic child in Washington splattering dark stinking bile, croaking gibberish, spewing vulgar personal attacks, lying to sow confusion, whining about the unfairness of the attempts of righteous men to compel the diabolical behavior and head-spinning outbursts to stop, who do you call?

The demon-buster himself, of course, William Friedkin, the director of The Exorcist.

Before Donald Trump became president, the most frightening thing that happened in the capital was The Exorcist, which brags on its DVD cover that it’s “the scariest film of all time.”

It could well be, if the measure is moviegoers putting down their popcorn in unison when Linda Blair gushes green vomit.

“That was oatmeal – the pea soup was just for coloring,” the 82-year-old Friedkin tells me, as we have lunch at 1789 in Georgetown, a restaurant opposite the steep concrete steps where Jason Miller’s tortured Father Karras fell to his death in a violent struggle with the demon.

Friedkin offers an eerie connection to the Trump White House, noting that he edited the film at 666 Fifth Avenue, the accursed Manhattan building with the Number of the Beast at the center of Jared Kushner’s money problems.

The book and screenplay were written by William Peter Blatty, inspired by a news story he heard about in a religious class: the 1949 case of a 14-year-old boy in a Maryland suburb of Washington. Objects appeared to move around on their own in the boy’s bedroom and he was violent and speaking Latin phrases. The boy, a Lutheran who grew up to be an engineer at NASA, underwent an exorcism, first with a priest from Georgetown University and then with priests in St. Louis.

After studying up on the case, Friedkin has decided it was “jive.”

“It just doesn’t hold water,” he says, eating asparagus soup that looks enough like what came out of Linda Blair’s mouth to make me a little queasy.

Friedkin’s career peaked in the early ’70s with two blockbusters, The French Connection and The Exorcist. Eventually he felt so out of touch with a Hollywood possessed by comic books and Sci-Fi’s that he began directing operas.

Now he has returned to the subject that haunts him with a documentary called The Devil and Father Amorth, opening this month.

Friedkin used a hand-held camera to film an interview with Father Amorth, the chief Vatican exorcist, who worried that “Satan rules the world” and was in the Vatican. He died in 2016 at 91.

The director, who had never seen an exorcism, also talked the priest into letting him film the exorcism of an Italian architect named Christina with whom he had done the ancient ritual many times.

“It was harrowing,” Friedkin says. “These five strong guys are holding her down. They’re sweating. Father Amorth told me that during one of the exorcisms, she accused him of his sins and they were real.”

Friedkin took this footage to neurosurgeons and psychiatrists, and one psychiatrist challenged it, saying Christina did not show “the classic symptoms” of possession, such as her head turning 360 degrees and her body levitating.

“I said, ‘Doctor, we made that up,'” Friedkin recalls dryly. “Blatty invented what we think of as possession and exorcism today, and I had to find a way to film it. Father Amorth never encountered stuff like that, but he encountered other extraordinary occurrences and personality changes and voice changes. But there was no levitation or head spinning.”

The filmmaker says that for his documentary he did nothing to amplify the guttural growl of Christina, which evokes the terrifying voice used by Mercedes McCambridge, which was dubbed in for Blair’s in the possession scenes.

“When she breathed into the mic, you’d hear five or six sounds come out at once, like John Coltrane playing the sax,” he says. “When I first called her, she said, ‘I’m in A.A. I had a serious drinking problem. I am a lapsed Catholic, but I still have strong ties to the church. So in order to do what you want, I’m going to have to start drinking Jack Daniel’s again and smoking cigarettes and eating raw eggs.’ And she wanted to have her own two priests with her at all times.”

Friedkin is chockablock with such tales.

He says the first of his four wives, Jeanne Moreau, installed a lifelong love of Proust in him by reading it aloud.

Happily married to Sherry Lansing for 26 years, Friedkin says, he wasn’t really “Hollywood’s most combustible director,” as The Telegraph once called him.

“I don’t drink,” he says. “I’ve never done drugs. I’ve never tried grass. But I think Miles Davis is a reason to live.” He does cop to slapping a couple of people to get the sad and angry performances he wanted, noting that another word for director is “manipulator.”

He did not want Gene Hackman to play the iconic New York police detective Popeye Doyle in The French Connection.

He gave the role to Jimmy Breslin instead. “He had exactly the look I had in mind, a Black Irishman,” Friedkin says. “The first day, he was great, great, great. The second day, he forgot what he did on the first day. The third day, he didn’t show up. Comes Friday, he shows up and says, ‘Hey, isn’t there a car chase in this movie?’ I said, ‘Yeah.’ He said, ‘You know, I promised my mother on her deathbed I wouldn’t drive, so I don’t know how to drive.’ I said, ‘You’re fired.'”

He gave Hackman the part, and they sparred so much during filming that at the end, he told a producer: “I may get away with this thing, but if I had to do ‘The Gene Hackman Story,’ I wouldn’t hire this guy.” He acknowledges now that Hackman is one of the greatest American film actors.

After lunch, Friedkin makes me descend the Stairway to Hell, the 75 steps in the movie’s climactic scene that I had avoided my whole life. I saw The Exorcist on my 21st birthday and was so unnerved, I went to bed and missed my own party.

Standing on the steps, Friedkin channels the demon, growling, “Your mother still rots in hell, Karras, you faithless slime.” Tourists taking selfies on the stairs look around, startled.

And even all these years later, I still want to crawl under the covers.

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Paranormal

A photographer took a picture of an old house, but did not know that a woman lived there. No wonder – you can only see it in the photo

A Scottish resident took a photo of an abandoned building, and then could not believe his eyes when he looked at the finished photograph. From there the woman’s face was looking at him, but the man is sure: there was no one in the ruins of the house. Finding an explanation for what he saw was not easy.

A photographer from Scotland, who wished to remain anonymous, decided to arrange an unusual photo session, Unilad writes.

His choice fell on several abandoned buildings that are located in one of the parks in the North Ayrshire region. After taking a couple of pictures, he went to the studio to print them, and then looked at the finished result.

(Untitled)

The negative of one of the photographs of the photographer

Mysticism often happens in abandoned buildings , and the case with a man was no exception. In one photo, the Scotsman saw the ghostly silhouette of a woman looking at him from a window. However, the man assures that there was no one in the building, and he was alone in the ruins.

During the shooting, I did not feel anything unusual or anything otherworldly.

Despite the fact that the woman’s face looks intimidating, he is glad that he managed to capture it. Moreover, the hero of the story shared the frame with all friends who adore mysticism and riddles.

(Untitled)

Pay attention to the left window

I’m happy that I was able to capture something that looks like a ghost. I am even proud to be able to show photos to people who love riddles.

Many people, according to the photographer, are inclined to believe that this is a ghost, who love to talk to children so much, although the author of the picture himself is in no hurry to draw conclusions. He even looked at the frame under a microscope, but never came to the truth.

You can, of course, speculate, but the human brain makes us see familiar traits everywhere, especially if we look at them long enough.

(Untitled)

Moreover, the photographer, according to him, does not really believe in ghosts and other mystical phenomena.

I don’t like the term paranormal. As for ghosts, I don’t know if they exist. I don’t even know how to define them. What is it? Energy?

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Paranormal

Camera recorded an extraneous movement in Massachusetts. And this sight is not for the faint-hearted

A Redditt user with the nickname grandslammer0891 from Mansfield, Massachusetts, posted a video from security cameras at a friend’s house, which scared him and left users in disbelief.

The author of the video explained that his friend left home by the end of August, leaving four huskies in the care of a friend. He usually visited them during the daytime.

One day the owner of the apartment received a notification in the middle of the night that the camera recorded some kind of extraneous movement. At that time there were only dogs in the house.

The video captured the kitchen and part of the living room. A dog is lying on the sofa in the right corner, and you can trace the turns of the head by its ears. When her ears turn to the left, then in the dark you can see the transparent figure of a moving person.

The video puzzled users and caused a mixed reaction from them. Some could not find an explanation for what they saw and panicked slightly. The dog’s head turns towards the ghost, which suggests that it also noticed the apparition.

“What is it, I saw it … with my own eyes. Does anyone else see this? Because it seems to me that I definitely saw something wrong. No no”.

Others decided that a man had walked past the window on the right, and his shadow flashed on the left in the headlights. Some users even believe that a live person got into the frame.

“I hope your buddy has a gun. There was a real intruder. “

Some readers agreed that the ghost video is quite plausible, since Massachusetts is full of ghosts.

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Paranormal

Paranormal researcher warns that Ouija boards can summon dangerous demons

Paranormal researcher Paul Marsters criticized British retailer Poundland for selling Ouija boards as part of Halloween decor. He warned that only professional mediums should use the boards, and ordinary people can summon deadly demons. 

Paul, who is a member of True Paranormal Events UK, was stunned when he saw a £ 1 ($ 1.29) Ouija board in a local budget store.

 “Ouija boards are definitely not toys and should not be available to children to buy in stores on Halloween, let alone adults who are not trained in how to use them. It doesn’t matter if they are plastic or wooden ”, – quotes the words of the ghost hunter Hull Live. 

Paul Marsters explained that people can accidentally summon dangerous spirits that will torment their victim in the future and may even lead to suicide. 

“On Halloween night, the veil on the spirit world is very thin, and people only buy these boards for Ouija sessions on Halloween, so I’m afraid to imagine what will happen when these boards are in the wrong hands,” the expert said. 

Poundland noted that Ouija boards can only be purchased by persons over 18 years of age. This item sold out quickly before Halloween due to its popularity.

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